UR was recently ranked one of the most active users of the new social app Yik Yak for the state of New York. The app, which was designed to target college students, is used by over 55% of UR students, according to the app’s developers.

Yik Yak allows students to create anonymous posts that appear on the feed of any user within a two-mile radius of their location.

The app, created by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, started as a small project, which stemmed from skills the pair learned in an app-designing class at Furman University in South Carolina. The app was released to the public in Nov. 2013.

Since its release, the app has spread across the country to almost every major college campus. As to why the app became so popular so quickly, Lead Community Developer for Yik Yak Cam Mullen had a simple answer.

“It’s really viral because it doesn’t take much to get a feed started, and once it’s started, it grows quickly.”

The app is quick to download, and, once installed on a student’s smartphone, is immediately ready to go.

“There are very few ‘friction steps’ as we call them – there’s no sign up, no password, no login. Once you download the app, you’re in,” Mullen said.

Many colleges have raised concerns about the app because it allows students an opportunity to harass and post inappropriate comments for thousands of students to see. The company says that it is managing these issues as they arise, and that the app has built-in features to prevent inappropriate comments.

“There is a team of moderators looking for all of these things and dealing with it,” Mullen said. “Usually when something is flagged, it’s taken down.”

With the newest feature on the app, users anywhere in the world can “peek” into the activity happening on any given campus and see exactly what students are talking about. Though the app is primarily used in the U.S. on college campuses, it has recently become popular in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. It has also spread to major airports across the world.

Yik Yak hopes the app will eventually grow to become a global news source. With the new “peek” feature, users will be able to see whats being yakked anywhere in the world during times of everyday use and during times of crisis.

“Twitter started out silly too,” Mullen said. “Now it’s a major news source.”

The app also hopes to give reserved and quiet students a voice.

“Our mission is to provide a voice to people that might not otherwise have one,” Mullen concluded. “It surpasses social circles – [users] can talk to people they would never talk to in the real world.”

Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.



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